The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 9

    Groped

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 4

    Burns

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Groped